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When Memories Come Alive

When Memories Come Alive

old television set

Arunima Kar’s precious reminiscences about provincial life and its unique character in Silchar take the form of an illuminating archive of forgotten life and living. It presents before us a wide sequence of emotions, ‘longing’ being the essentially vital one.

There are places I’ll remember

All my life though some have changed

Some forever, not for better

Some have gone and some remain’

As I hum these famous lines by The Beatles, I am transported by a time machine to a quaint place whose memories are etched in my heart. I talk about this place which has made me ‘ME’, a place which has given me a sense of belongingness, a place which has given me friends and family, a place which I can call my own- My Silchar.

Anyone who did not grow up in Silchar would find it quite amusing when they find us- the Silcharites taking the name of the place with so much pride and struck by nostalgia with the very mention of the place.

Only ‘we’ – the strange people from a place which lesser known to people would probably know what I mean and will surely share similar emotions. I will keep this discussion, probably, for some other day. Today as I desire to pen down something after ages, I feel this pressing need to share glimpses from my not-so-happening growing up years in the not-so-happening place.

Currently, based out of Bangalore when I look back, I find that the world I lived in as a child or adolescent was somewhat surreal. I say this because no one from the present generation would be able to relate to the world we lived in. The evidence of this, I find, when I try narrating the stories of my past to my son. I would not blame him as he tries his best to understand my world but he has not seen that world to understand enough.

I often feel that we come from a different era altogether. We come from an era of ‘no internet’, ‘no mobiles’. As I talk about the internet, I recall that my peers and I had our first access to the internet during our graduation or post-graduation days.  For the thrill of surfing the net, we had to shell out 10 to 15 bucks from our negligible pocket money. Atleast, at this time our lives were in some way touched by technology.

Let’s go back further in time and take a trip down the memory lane. These memories, I realize of late, are somewhere embedded in my consciousness. I often find myself thinking about the time when we really knew what it is to live in a community, a concept and a way of living which is lost in oblivion with the advancement of technology, even in our childhood paradise. When we were growing up, it was not a mandate for every house to own a television. There come your neighbours to your rescue. A concept that might be made fun of in this world was so real in the world we lived in.

The entire neighbourhood coming together to watch the serials like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Chandrakanta or Mowgli or to cheer up the Indian cricket team would seem to this generation an excerpt from a fictional narrative. With every six hit by Sourav or Sachin we used to jump up in joy and it was surely a sight to behold. The emotions in a cramped room would be palpable. There were also days when we used to pray for load shedding and our prayers , not sure if heard by the Almighty but were heard by the State Electricity Board. The moment the power would be cut, we would be on the streets- the young and the old respectively for a stroll on the deserted street of G.C College Road which would, of course be filled with chatters and giggles of the spirited neighbours. Those were the little moments of joy capable of making us ecstatic- such was our simplicity. Every other day we were handed over a bowl of savoury and were ordered to deliver it to a certain ‘pishi’ or a ‘mashi’. Of course we never questioned them.

The beauty of those days was that we hardly had any lonely days. I was the only child of my parents, I never missed having a sibling. The reason was very simple-the doors and hearts of people were welcoming and open for people. People would come without appointments and this was normal. Sitting in Bangalore today, when I see the present generation struggling with their loneliness and resorting to a virtual world, in my heart of hearts I wish I had a remote button through which I could press to bring back the simplicity and happiness of our childhood.

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Mou Ganguli

Though you will have to put quite an effort to locate Silchar in the map of India, I can very proudly say that you can always locate Silchar in the map of happiness.


Arunima Kar
Arunima KarArunima is born and brought up in Silchar and settled in Bangalore. After doing her Masters in English, she worked for a long time in CitiFinancial. She’s currently working with Vedantu

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